Now that my book is off to the copy editor, I have time to catch up on reading. At the top of my list was Paul R. Williams: Classic Hollywood Style. With a career spanning six decades, architect Paul Revere Williams came to define “gracious living” for the Hollywood elite. Although his hey-day was the 1930’s and 40’s, he designed from the 1920’s to the early 1970’s bringing something new to each period. Williams mastered an array of architectural idioms—including American Colonial, Spanish Mediterranean, English Tudor, French Normandy, Art Deco, and, of course, the California ranch style.
Among the most celebrated architects of his generation, Williams was also the first African-American member of the American Institute of Architects, and he was deeply involved in the black community in Los Angeles and in African-American affairs nationally. Williams moved among many worlds, and with celebrity clients such as Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Tyrone Power, and Barbara Stanwyck. He left his mark in the city’s most glamorous and exclusive enclaves—Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Bel Air, and the Hollywood Hills.
Paul R. Williams: Classic Hollywood Style is a tour of the prolific architect’s most spectacular houses, by his granddaughter Karen Hudson. The architect’s own writings and interviews accompanying each of the houses presented in the book. I though I would share one quote by Williams that I think is particularly brilliant:
“Planning is thinking beforehand how something is to be made or done, and mixing imagination with the product – which in a broad sense makes all of us planners. The only difference is that some people get a license to get paid for thinking and the rest of us just contribute our good thoughts to our fellow man.”
© Paul R. Williams: Classic Hollywood Style by Karen E. Hudson, Rizzoli New York, 2012.